50 books like Live from Cape Canaveral

By Jay Barbree,

Here are 50 books that Live from Cape Canaveral fans have personally recommended if you like Live from Cape Canaveral. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Elon Musk: Tesla, Spacex, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future

Rebekah Lyn Author Of Undaunted

From my list on on space exploration.

Why am I passionate about this?

Growing up on the Space Coast, with my dad working on the Space Shuttle, and launches a regular occurrence, over time I took the program for granted. When the last Shutte launched, though, it left a hole in my heart. Gradually a desire to write about my hometown and its place in space history gave birth to the Jessie Cole trilogy. A combination of stories from my dad’s childhood in Titusville, conversations with docents at our historical society, and scores of books, magazine articles, and archived news footage helped reshape my view of space exploration. It was hard to choose just five books to highlight. More are noted in the Research Library section of my website.

Rebekah's book list on on space exploration

Rebekah Lyn Why did Rebekah love this book?

People either love or hate Elon Musk. I fall into the camp of deeply admiring all he has accomplished and the brillance of the way his mind works. Before reading this book, I knew he was driven and has accomplished things others have spent years struggling with. As I read, I learned just how smart and determined he is. Failure isn’t an option for him, nor is focusing on one project enough to keep him content. His life has been messy in several respects, and much of that is captured in this book. To be sure, his lack of a filter when dealing with people as well as his overly optimistic timelines on just about every project have rubbed people the wrong way, but this insight into the way his mind works and the out-of-the-box way he’s gone about building his companies just might change the opinions of some haters.…

By Ashlee Vance,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Elon Musk as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

South African born Elon Musk is the renowned entrepreneur and innovator behind PayPal, SpaceX, Tesla, and SolarCity. Musk wants to save our planet; he wants to send citizens into space, to form a colony on Mars; he wants to make money while doing these things; and he wants us all to know about it. He is the real-life inspiration for the Iron Man series of films starring Robert Downey Junior.

The personal tale of Musk's life comes with all the trappings one associates with a great, drama-filled story. He was a freakishly bright kid who was bullied brutally at school,…


Book cover of An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth: What Going to Space Taught Me about Ingenuity, Determination, and Being Prepared for Anything

Michael Soluri Author Of Infinite Worlds: The People and Places of Space Exploration

From my list on space exploration, astronauts, the moon, and beyond.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve followed the history of space exploration since I was a kid! Although I spent decades photographing assignments in exotic international locations and co-authored visually driven books on astronomical phenomena, my dream was to photograph in NASA’s restricted space exploration work cultures. Never giving up, I achieved unprecedented access into the shuttle mission that saved the Hubble Space Telescope and, for more than a decade, with the New Horizons team that first explored the Pluto system. I’ve been published in media like Smithsonian, Nat Geo, WIRED, New Scientist, and NPR. Honored that my photographs of astronaut space tools are in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian’s National Air & Space Museum.   

Michael's book list on space exploration, astronauts, the moon, and beyond

Michael Soluri Why did Michael love this book?

“Weightlessness is like a new toy you get to unwrap every day, again and again — and it’s a great reminder, too, that you need to savor the small stuff, not just sweat it.” One of many lessons learned offered by the Canadian astronaut (yes, the one who sang a creative version of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity”) and flew on both the American Shuttle and Russian Soyuz. Like other next-generation astronauts influenced by the Apollo era, Chris reveals a non-jargon view about training and spaceflight with international crews. As Commander of the International Space Station during Expedition 34/35, he writes, “… don’t assume you know everything, and try to be ready for anything” is wisdom that can be related to here on Earth and up there in space.” 

By Chris Hadfield,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Back on the earth after three spaceflights, Chris Hadfield's captivating memoir An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth reveals extraordinary stories from his life as an astronaut, and shows how to make the impossible a reality. This edition contains a new afterword.

Colonel Chris Hadfield has spent decades training as an astronaut and has logged nearly 4,000 hours in space. During this time he has broken into a Space Station with a Swiss army knife, disposed of a live snake while piloting a plane, been temporarily blinded while clinging to the exterior of an orbiting spacecraft, and become a YouTube…


Book cover of Gemini: A Personal Account of Man's Venture into Space

Rebekah Lyn Author Of Undaunted

From my list on on space exploration.

Why am I passionate about this?

Growing up on the Space Coast, with my dad working on the Space Shuttle, and launches a regular occurrence, over time I took the program for granted. When the last Shutte launched, though, it left a hole in my heart. Gradually a desire to write about my hometown and its place in space history gave birth to the Jessie Cole trilogy. A combination of stories from my dad’s childhood in Titusville, conversations with docents at our historical society, and scores of books, magazine articles, and archived news footage helped reshape my view of space exploration. It was hard to choose just five books to highlight. More are noted in the Research Library section of my website.

Rebekah's book list on on space exploration

Rebekah Lyn Why did Rebekah love this book?

When researching the early US Space Program, something about Grissom drew me in, wanting to learn more about the man. He completed the first draft of this book just weeks before his tragic death in the Apollo 1 test fire. His editor, Jacob Hay, polished the book into its final form with the approval of Grissom’s wife, Betty, and it was published in 1968. In the introduction to the book, Grissom plainly says he wrote this for his sons, so they could have an idea of the “weird, wonderful enterprise their father was lucky enough to have a part in fulfilling.” It’s not a technical manual or an outside observer’s report, it’s an inside story of what the race to the moon was like and why Grissom thought the moon was a worthy endeavor.   

By Virgil I. Grissom,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Gemini as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"The heroic astronaut's personal account of his day-to-day experiences with one of man's greatest ventures into space:the Gemini program'. "The story of the historical flight aboard the Molly Brown as Gus Grissom named the Gemini 3 is breathtakinly descripted : the minute -by-minute sensations and experiences of Gus and his fellow astronaut John Young.


Book cover of The Martian

Johnny B. Truant Author Of Dead City

From my list on Sci-Fi real science that justifies unreal things.

Why am I passionate about this?

Before I was an author, I was a scientist pursuing a PhD in molecular genetics. When I left the lab and started writing, that scientist’s need for real-world sense stuck with me and became a theme in everything I write. The authors I like understand that “suspension of disbelief” is a limited resource, so they’d better only ask readers for it when it counts. Get the baseline facts and logic right, and I’ll believe and enjoy the fantastical stuff spun from it so much more. 

Johnny's book list on Sci-Fi real science that justifies unreal things

Johnny B. Truant Why did Johnny love this book?

You can’t get more “real science" than this book! The author is an engineer who refuses to ask readers to take things on faith if there’s any way he can give them a real-world grounding with the science we already have. 

I loved it because I completely and totally believed it. Weir works within the rules of the real world rather than ignoring them and hoping readers don’t notice, which is what so many books do. All you need to do is believe that a manned mission to Mars is possible, and the rest won’t raise a single “but wait; that wouldn’t happen” eyebrow!

By Andy Weir,

Why should I read it?

20 authors picked The Martian as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 10, 11, 12, and 13.

What is this book about?

Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he's sure he'll be the first person to die there. After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he's alive--and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive. Chances are, though, he won't have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain-old human error are…


Book cover of Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race

Timothy Knapman Author Of The Book of Blast Off!: 15 Real-Life Space Missions

From my list on making space exploration a blast for kids.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a kid I loved space, and devoured science fiction (Doctor Who was my favorite). Now I’m a grown-up, I write books for kids - 70 so far and counting. (My latest picture book is called Sometimes I Am Furious, illustrated by Joe Berger.) The Book of Blast Off! is my second book about space (the first one was just called Space – not the most imaginative title, it’s true). I love writing non-fiction for kids because, unlike grown-ups, you can’t blind them with science. You have to know what you’re talking about so you can explain things clearly. They’re the best audience and you want to be worthy of them.

Timothy's book list on making space exploration a blast for kids

Timothy Knapman Why did Timothy love this book?

This is a children’s version of the book that inspired the movie.

Like everyone else who saw that movie, I was blown away by the story – I was also thoroughly ashamed that I hadn’t heard about these amazing women before.

I’m no math whizz, so making all those impossibly complicated calculations – on which people’s lives would depend – is already completely beyond me. But doing so with such dignity and determination in the face of the daily grind of petty prejudice and poisonous ignorance puts them in the superhero category.

I was in tears in the movie, and once again when reading the book.

By Margot Lee Shetterly, Laura Freeman (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Hidden Figures as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

Based on the New York Times bestselling book and the Academy Award-nominated movie, author Margot Lee Shetterly and illustrator Laura Freeman bring the incredibly inspiring true story of four black women who helped NASA launch men into space to picture book readers!

Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Christine Darden were good at math...really good.

They participated in some of NASA's greatest successes, like providing the calculations for America's first journeys into space. And they did so during a time when being black and a woman limited what they could do. But they worked hard. They persisted. And they…


Book cover of The Mars Challenge: The Past, Present, and Future of Human Spaceflight

David Hitt Author Of Homesteading Space: The Skylab Story

From my list on for a graphic novel exploration of space.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I was five years old, my father sat down with me in front of the television and we watched together as the Space Shuttle Columbia launched for the first time. Four decades later, I’ve authored a history of those early shuttle missions, been a part of developing future space missions, and, most importantly of all, watched several space firsts with my own son. Space exploration is humanity at its greatest – working together using the best of our abilities to overcome incredible challenges and improve life here on Earth – and I’m always grateful for the opportunity to share that inspiration with others.

David's book list on for a graphic novel exploration of space

David Hitt Why did David love this book?

The first three books on this list are focused on the history of space exploration; The Mars Challenge is all about the future. Told us a conversation between an ambitious student and a more experienced space professional mentor, The Mars Challenge explores just that – the numerous challenges humanity will have to overcome before we can take the first steps on the Red Planet. In doing so, it threads a needle brilliantly – doing justice to the complexity of these challenges, but presenting them in a way that a lay reader can understand. The book is perfect for inspiring the next generation of explorers, and provides a fun read for adults who’d like an overview of the challenges of space.

By Alison Wilgus, Wyeth Yates (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Mars Challenge as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Nadia is a teenager with a dream: to be the first woman on Mars. But there are a lot of obstacles in her way: gravity wells, interplanetary trajectories, space weather, and that pesky rocket equation. It's a good thing Nadia's friend Eleanor is a space wiz.

Eleanor explains how scientists are working to overcome the numerous challenges involved in a manned mission to Mars. Eye-catching illustrations and detailed diagrams bring to light the scientific concepts and complex machinery of interplanetary travel. The challenges are great, but not insurmountable. Humans can reach Mars in our lifetime, and this book explains how…


Book cover of Spaceman: An Astronaut's Unlikely Journey to Unlock the Secrets of the Universe

Michael Soluri Author Of Infinite Worlds: The People and Places of Space Exploration

From my list on space exploration, astronauts, the moon, and beyond.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve followed the history of space exploration since I was a kid! Although I spent decades photographing assignments in exotic international locations and co-authored visually driven books on astronomical phenomena, my dream was to photograph in NASA’s restricted space exploration work cultures. Never giving up, I achieved unprecedented access into the shuttle mission that saved the Hubble Space Telescope and, for more than a decade, with the New Horizons team that first explored the Pluto system. I’ve been published in media like Smithsonian, Nat Geo, WIRED, New Scientist, and NPR. Honored that my photographs of astronaut space tools are in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian’s National Air & Space Museum.   

Michael's book list on space exploration, astronauts, the moon, and beyond

Michael Soluri Why did Michael love this book?

Influenced by the Apollo era, “I applied to be an astronaut four times and was rejected three times before I was accepted. So, it’s about following your dream and not giving up.” This is from the son of a New York City fireman, where work ethic, never giving up, and lots of humor frame Mike’s achievement to becoming an astronaut (and even a guest on The Big Bang Theory). I’ve known Mass since 2007 and those ingrained qualities make for an inspirational narrative. Perhaps the most poignant: trying to avoid tearing up during his first EVA spacewalk on the Hubble Space Telescope when he experienced seeing the wonder of our blue-dot, water-world Earth from space.  

By Mike Massimino,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Spaceman as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Mike Massimino's compelling memoir takes us on a brilliant journey where the nerdiest science meets the most thrilling adventure to reveal what 'the right stuff' truly is. Many children dream of becoming an astronaut when they grow up, but when NASA rejected him, he kept on trying. Even being told his poor eyesigh would mean he could never make it didn't stop him; he simply trained his eyes to be better. Finally, at the third time of asking, NASA accepted him.
So began Massimino's 18-year career as an astronaut, and the extraordinary lengths he went to to get accepted was…


Book cover of Space Race: The Epic Battle Between America and the Soviet Union for Dominion of Space

Nick Abadzis Author Of Laika

From my list on the Soviet space program.

Why am I passionate about this?

I wrote and drew a book about the Russian dog called Laika, the first living being to go into orbit around the planet Earth. Part of the conception of this book was that I wanted to create a graphic novel that almost anyone could read - a comic for people who might not usually read comics. It had to be accessible - you didn’t have to be steeped in comics lore, geek culture or space history to find your way into it. I've been creating books, magazines, comics, and stories for both adults and children for more than thirty-five years, with work published all over the world. 

Nick's book list on the Soviet space program

Nick Abadzis Why did Nick love this book?

Space Race was originally a companion book to a BBC docudrama from the mid-2000s and as such shares all the climactic page-turning paciness you’d expect from such an account. While it doesn’t share the deep detail of some of the books mentioned above, it’s an illuminating and highly enjoyable overview of the historical events that culminated in the Americans landing on the Moon in Apollo 11 in 1969.

By Deborah Cadbury,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Space Race as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of the most exhilarating true adventures in history, the race into space was marked by courage, duplicity, political paranoia, astonishing technological feats, and unbelievable triumphs in the face of overwhelming adversity. It is the story of an unparalleled rivalry between superpowers and of the two remarkable men at the center of the conflict. On the American side was Wernher von Braun, the camera-friendly former Nazi scientist, who was granted hero status and almost unlimited resources by a government panicked at the thought of the Cold War enemy taking the lead. The Soviet program was headed by Sergei Korolev, a…


Book cover of The Last Man on the Moon: Astronaut Eugene Cernan and America's Race in Space

Alan Smale Author Of Hot Moon

From my list on the excellence behind the Apollo Moon missions.

Why am I passionate about this?

Hot Moon, my new alternate-Apollo thriller set entirely on and around the Moon, is my labor of love and the book I always wanted to write. I grew up in Yorkshire, England, far from Cape Kennedy and Mission Control, but was always obsessed with the Apollo Program and with astronomy and space in general. This passion (nudged along by shows like Doctor Who, UFO, and Star Trek) eventually led to degrees in Physics and Astrophysics from Oxford. I now live in the US and work for NASA studying black holes and other bizarre celestial objects.

Alan's book list on the excellence behind the Apollo Moon missions

Alan Smale Why did Alan love this book?

If you only ever read two books penned by astronauts, this should be the second. Gene Cernan flew on Gemini 9, Apollo 10, and Apollo 17; on this final mission in 1972 he was the last man to walk on the Moon as part of the Apollo Program. Like Collins, Cernan sheds the astronaut tough-guy image to show us the human cost of the Apollo Program, as well as the bravery and glory of the enterprise. He’s unflinchingly honest, but also thoughtful and sometimes lyrical about his space experiences, and always entertaining. Of all the astronauts, Cernan might have been my first choice as a dinner companion; I’d have loved to talk with him about his three EVAs covering 22 hours of lunar exploration. That would have been terrific.

By Eugene Cernan, Donald A. Davis,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Last Man on the Moon as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Eugene Cernan is a unique American who came of age as an astronaut during the most exciting and dangerous decade of spaceflight. His career spanned the entire Gemini and Apollo programs, from being the first person to spacewalk all the way around our world to commanding Apollo XVII, man's last mission to the moon. Between those two historic events lay more adventures than an ordinary person could imagine as Cernan repeatedly put his life, his family and everything he held dear on the altar of an obsessive desire. Written with "New York Times" bestselling author Don Davis, this is the…


Book cover of Korolev: How One Man Masterminded the Soviet Drive to Beat America to the Moon

Nick Abadzis Author Of Laika

From my list on the Soviet space program.

Why am I passionate about this?

I wrote and drew a book about the Russian dog called Laika, the first living being to go into orbit around the planet Earth. Part of the conception of this book was that I wanted to create a graphic novel that almost anyone could read - a comic for people who might not usually read comics. It had to be accessible - you didn’t have to be steeped in comics lore, geek culture or space history to find your way into it. I've been creating books, magazines, comics, and stories for both adults and children for more than thirty-five years, with work published all over the world. 

Nick's book list on the Soviet space program

Nick Abadzis Why did Nick love this book?

Korolev is one of the true architects of the 20th century and the technologically advanced world we live in today, yet most people in the West don’t have any idea who he is. A designer and engineer in the Soviet hierarchy and survivor of Stalin’s purges, he was a remarkable individual who united various small Soviet design bureaus to create the illusion of military-industrial organization that was equal and opposite in might to that of the USA. That was for the purposes of his masters; Korolev really did just want to put a Russian on the Moon. Harford’s book gives a sense of the visionary that lurked just beneath the surface of the canny political operator who changed history. The Russians led the world into space, but it was Korolev who led the Russians there.

By James Harford,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Korolev as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

How One Man Masterminded the Soviet Drive Beat America to the Moon. "Fascinating ...packed with technical and historical detail for the space expert and enthusiast alike ...Great stuff!"-New Scientist "In this exceptional book, James Harford pieces together a most compelling and well-written tale...Must reading."-Space News. "Through masterful research and an engaging narrative style, James Harford gives the world its first in-depth look at the man who should rightly be called the father of the Soviet space program."-Norman R. Augustine, CEO, Lockheed Martin. "In Korolev, James Harford has written a masterly biography of this enigmatic 'Chief Designer' whose role the Soviets…


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